Husband and I took a proper summer vaca over July 4th week. We packed our suitcase and headed to sunny Flaar-ih-da. You and I might pronounce it Floor-i-da, but if you’re Floridian it comes out more like Flar, like car. Anyhoo…we were unplugged- literally- dad doesn’t have television and most of my Instagrams became Latergrams. We got to see Bill Cunningham New York on Netflix one night which made me very happy. We visited my daddy who moved to a quaint, beach town called Indialantic about three years ago and we’ve been terrible and haven’t made it out to see his place until this year. By golly we were going to visit him this year, and we did! Now I want to move. Well, the thought crossed our minds, real estate is affordable, but what makes me hesitant to join the tanned juicers along the Atlantic coast is this, fur coats. That and boots, hot cocoa and snowflakes, knit caps and mittens, icicles and snowmen. I am truly a Colorado native through and through. Doesn’t mean I can’t get a beach house though…Sigh…

Indilantic, for those of you who had never heard of it until now, is an island off of Melbourne, which is about 40 minutes southeast, along the coast, from Orlando. Driving down, there were highways lined with thick, lush greenery. We pulled over and got pure honey, juicy peaches and watermelon. We passed through Melbourne, and the main street where the downtown historic district was bustling with live music, cafes, and boutiques. Across the bridge, over the Indian River, headed towards my daddy’s place, we arrived at a mini paradise on U.S. soil. A best kept secret. My dad lives three blocks from the beach. 1.2.3. We walked there with our chairs and umbrellas and walked back from a morning of paddle boarding on the ocean with sandy toes and salty hair, stopping along the way to admire the subtropical vegetation and landscaping growing wild in the yards.

We walked to a little crepe place owned by a French guy. We walked to a The Beachside Cafe one morning for breakfast where the locals as well as beach goers go to eat atop turquoise laminate table tops. We walked to Longboard Beach House where we rented paddle boards one day. I got up and on fairly easy and it was actually very relaxing. Until the oar began to feel like 100 pounds and we had to carry the huge boards, and paddles back up the beach and back to Longboards. Whew! What a workout! We biked to a pier one night, popped the kick stands and sat along the edge of the dock dangling our feet over the Indian River. We ate humongous burgers at a greasy Greek diner upon a recommendation, and we had coffee at a local shop, House of Joe (just missing open mic night that night). Here, there are surfboards on vans, people cruising around town on bikes in their bikinis and trunks, people pulled over on the bridge fishing in the Indian River, mini geckos blending in with the plant life on patios, palm trees galore, bare legs, exposed toes, tan skin, sun hats, and white beach sand dusts the tile floors of the Starbucks right on Indialantic Beach. It was like everyone was on permanent vacation! We ran across people who were born there, grew up there and were starting families there. We ran across high school kids who went to the private Catholic school in town, we met college students at FIT (when I first head them say where they attended school, I giddily asked, ‘Fashion Institute of Technology?!’) but it turns out it’s Florida Institute of Technology. Go figure.

This town was not full of Q-tips as one might think. Retirement takes on a different meaning in Indialantic. People are certainly not caning around town and playing bridge. They are ACTIVE. They’re on boogie boards hitting those waves, eh em, Daddy. They’re taking pilates and running miles in the hot, Florida humidity, eh em, my step mother. On 4th of July the whole town comes out and lines the bridge over the Indian River and we watched an amazing fireworks display. The patriotism was refreshing. Kids held sparklers and store bought fireworks lit up the faces of families standing around them as they lit them off giving mini pre-shows all along the cosway. A gang of kids on skateboards, roller skates and bicycles would roll up to the top of the bridge and fly down waving the American flag. They repeated this throughout the fireworks show. I think I teared up several times. Indialantic is truly a gem.

Our first morning there we got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Satellite Beach, Cape Canaveral, to watch a rocket launch. There are bleachers set up and people come out with cameras and binoculars and wait…wait…wait to hear that boom….boom….BOOM!!!! After numerous delays we headed back to the house, but not before stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts first, and by the time we pulled into the driveway we saw the smoke tail in the sky in front of us! Oh man!!! We stood there, and heard the aftershock roar. That was emotional…sending a piece of machinery and craft into space! Pretty incredible…

Dad took us to dinner on the Indian River at a great place called Kattana’s and we had the best clam chowder! Turned out the owner was into soccer and owned another bar down the street that drew a futbol fandom. Husband went there a couple days later to watch the European soccer championship in good company. Dad was an amazing tour guide and also took us to Cape Canaveral another afternoon for an early meal and watch the cruise ships leave the dock. We waved and cheered like dorks to the people on the boats as they left the harbor and it felt good. We had ice cream at Moo’s and Mexican at Amigo’s. We poked around the local Ross when we wanted a retail fix a time or two, and I did end up finding a pair of Franco Sarto leather sandals for $15!

We took a drive up to St. Augustine and stayed for a night and happened to get a room at a lodge right on the water. We walked the historic town and I found a natural “black soap” from Ghana in the old drugstore, for my blasted acne prone skin, which seems to be working! Upon recommendations from folks in Indialantic, we found the famous popsicle joint they told us about, Hyppo, where we had strawberry-pepper flavored goodness. That night we had seafood in the dark on a twinkling light patio at old O.C. Whites and hit St. Augustine beach the next day. I even stumbled upon a vintage clothing store in downtown historic St. Augustine called They Way We Were. Hubby scored two vintage suits for $60 for both! A little tailoring and cleaning when we got back was all that was needed. I found an amazing pair of black and white pumps that were the owner’s and barely worn by Spanish label Totar. Don’t know much about the line but the shoes fit well and were so unique I had to have them. You know me, always scouring for vintage, thrift and treasure.

On the way back we stopped in Daytona. Not much to see here in my opinion. We did magically make our way inside the parking lot of the track and husband found an open gate somewhere. I waited in the car while he caught a glimpse inside of the famous track. Daytona Beach itself seemed EXTREMELY touristy, with an hour wait outside a Bubba Gump’s, and littered with hotels, arcades and bad pizza joints. It reminded me of the Vegas strip. Just bad. On our way back to the highway, I had spotted a Lebanese restaurant on the way in, so we stopped. We enjoyed really good gyro sandwiches and Mediterranean food. I LOVE finding ethnic food when we travel! Makes it seem like home.

Well, back in Indialantic, I didn’t have to go far to find my treasure. My step mother had introduced me to The Cottage Rose. An adorable, victorian-esque consignment shop about six blocks from Dad’s house. You walk in and pungent rose perfume hits the nose, but somehow it’s extremely welcoming and homey, like my Great Aunt’s house. The owner Peggy, could pass as my grandma, and is elegantly dressed and polished. The dressing room is the bathroom of the tiny house and a cutout of Cher and the girls from Clueless were framed behind the pink toilet. The green, palm-tree-leave-printed wallpaper contrasted with the feminine counter top littered with silk flowers and bottles of potions and lotions. I visited Cottage Rose once when I first arrived, and again after a bad day of thrifting. Both times, I scored incredible things. My bad day of thrifting was not for lack of trying. Husband and I got up early and went to about half a dozen in and across town, but turned up empty handed, but a highlight was we stumbled upon a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. On the way back, disappointed, I had him drop me off at the Cottage Rose, hoping to find that trove I had hoped to find earlier that day. He went home and napped, I walked back with a bag full of goodies.

I didn’t realize how much I missed my father until I visited. I didn’t realize how much alike he and I are! Husband bonded with my dad and learned more of who I am because of that visit, I think. The night before we left, we had the magical blessing of witnessing sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs and make their way back to the sea in the moonlight. If that sounds like a fairytale, it was. Nature is incredible! When I saw this creature do that, you really ask yourself, “How can people not believe in a creator of things?” How a sea turtle knows when and where to come ashore and plant life, and how that life, after birth, knows how to go back into the sea and live, mate, and come back and do it again- WOW! I am emotional just thinking about it! In fact, those sea turtles draw a lot of tourism to tiny Indilantic and hold celebritydom status all their own.

I can’t wait to go back. I can’t wait for my Dad to come visit me again, hopefully in December, when I’m donning my furs and boots. If this didn’t do a good job of convincing you that there are amazing blips of geography and slices of Americana out there and inspire you to visit them, count this as one of those annoying billboard ads you see for Wyoming, but insert Indialantic, and go!

I am happy to report that I wore 99% of what I packed! I also left enough room for the poundage in sequins and goodies we brought back. Well, it took a little rearranging coming back but it was good packing!

Here’s what I brought:

1. Franco Sarto Basket Weave Wedge Sandals (Had a pair before that I bought from Nordstrom Rack, did not wear these, could have done without)
2. Lavender slip-on Converse Sneakers (as light as Crocs, found at Ross before we left for $9.99)
3. Diesel flip flops for beach and around house
4. Colorful strappy sandals from True Love (cut my feet and wore once, could have done without)
5. Black Matt Bernson gladiator sandals from the Dress for Success Sale before I left for $5 (wore on plane and most of the trip, great buy)

1. Two silk scarves to tie around hair/head
2. Fedora Sun Hat from Target (Bought before trip for $15)
3. a tan belt
4. a leather belt with a hammered silver buckle (heavy and could have done without)
5. Many necklaces and earrings and bracelets…

1. Blue and White Stripe bikini from Target (purchased before trip)
2. American Apparel striped bikini (50’s style with high waist briefs in Barcelona Stripe- purchased before trip on sale from American Apparel Store)
3. Orange bikini from Victoria’s Secret from last year


1. Striped breton style top from Ross
2. pink and orange paisley printed shorts from Target (purchased before trip for $13)
3. boyfriend jeans by Current/Elliott (purchased before trip from Dress for Success sale)
4. gray woolen jersey dress from local designer Zoe Twitt (too nice to be worn to beach or as cover up, could have done, material snags easily and didn’t want to get ruined without)
5. hot pink and white printed drop waist dress from American Apparel a couple years ago
5. white thrifted nightgown
6. white slip from American Apparel
7. black ALC maxi dress purchased at Frock Shop Sale back in Spring
8. 2 lightweight sundresses from Urban Outfitters (purchased before trip, both on sale for $29 each)
9. lightweight sundress from Kohl’s
10. lightweight cream colored skirt
11. denim button down vest with knot from aeropastale
12. white and blue seersucker shorts from American Apparel
13. white tank
14. gray tank
15. hot pink tank
16. Light weight silky green pants

Here’s what I bought:

Lily Pulitzer overalls from Cottage Rose

Franco Sarto heels from Ross

And things that once belonged to my grandmother Georgiana, daddy’s mom, given to me by my stepmother:

I do not kid about the pounds of sequins brought back from Florida… Happy traveling and happy summer!


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